The marketing world descends on the Lone Star State

In recent years, Q1 has been punctuated by a marketing pilgrimage to Austin, Texas and the city’s renowned South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi). We’ve been fortunate in years past to both attend the festival and host an event there, and this year we’ll be adding panel host to our SXSWi track record as well.

The “Interactive” component of the festival, focusing on digital marketing and media, continues to evolve as consumer media habits rapidly adapt and marketing and innovation dollars follow suit. The programming spectrum seems to grow broader each year, as innovators and consumers alike clamor to catch the latest and greatest trends, products and practices. In recent years the festival has featured the release of countless innovative web and mobile applications, including Foursquare, while the list of keynote speakers has become the who’s who of Silicon Valley/Alley and Hollywood: Evan Williams, Al Gore, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Edward Snowden and Lady Gaga have all made an appearance.

Included in this year’s impressive agenda is the session “Do you know the ROI of WOM? Do you want to?”, in which our SVP of Research & Analytics, Peter Storck, will lead a panel of marketing and research experts — Beth Rockwood (Discovery Communications), Edward Wild (PepsiCo) and Greg Pharo (AT&T Mobility) — who will share results from WOMMA’s landmark Return on WOM study. This study was designed to reveal the very real and tangible ROI attached to word-of-mouth marketing practices, online and offline. It found, among other things, that WOM can drive sales at least five times as effectively as paid media, and this panel will discuss how brands can use these findings to make their entire marketing investment work harder.

If you’re looking to add to your marketing toolkit, Austin has a lot to offer during SXSWi; you just have to know how to sift through the reams of sessions and events to find the groundbreaking ones that fit your marketing objectives. We, of course, put “Do you know the ROI of WOM? Do you want to?” at the top of this list — and we think you just might want to as well. If you, a colleague or even a friend will be attending SXSWi, please join us on Friday, March 13th from 12:30-1:30 pm CST in the Zilker Ballroom 2 at the Hyatt Regency Austin. And if you plan on attending either SXSWi or our session specifically, let us know. We’d love to catch up with you while we’re visiting the Lone Star State!